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Hamilton Kirikiriroa to host Copper Queens at FIFA team base camp training site

Photo by Buda Mendes - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images

Hamilton Kirikiriroa, host city to FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023™ is set to provide a base camp for Zambia in the biggest female sporting event in the world.

For the first time in FIFA Women’s World Cup history, teams opted for base camps as a ‘home away from home’ during the competition period. The Zambian Copper Queens team and their support team will reside in Hamilton Kirikiriroa during the tournament.

Korikori Park, Rototuna, will be used as their training site. The newly appointed Team Base Camp was recently part of a $1 million grant from Trust Waikato to install LED floodlighting facilities. The new lights will also benefit local communities and many different sporting codes that use the park.

With Zambia being the first African landlocked nation to qualify for a FIFA World Cup™ for either men's or women's football, Chairperson of the Zambians of Aotearoa, Munanga Mwandila is thrilled with the announcement.

“We are delighted that the Copper Queens will be hosted in Hamilton for this competition. It immediately became clear to us that Hamilton would provide an amazing cultural experience, and a home away from home for the team and for the Zambian fans.”

Munanga believes the tournament will enrich the bond between the African community and Aotearoa and showcase tradition, culture and heritage.

“With a large population of Africans residing in Hamilton and nearby Auckland, we are excited to be providing the Copper Queens with all the support they deserve and to showcase the Zambian and African heritage existing in the region. This is also an incredible opportunity for our community to continue contributing to the cultural enrichment of Hamilton and Aotearoa New Zealand.”

Zambia will be the first team to kick off the tournament at Waikato Stadium against Japan on Saturday 22 July. More than 30 nations will be travelling to Australia and New Zealand for the month-long tournament starting 20 July through to 20 August 2023.

Hamilton Mayor Paula Southgate hopes Hamiltonians welcome the host team with open arms, and back them along with the Football Ferns.

“We are proud and excited to share our home with the Copper Queens and showcase our wonderful city and all that it can offer. I know our city will make you all feel welcome, showing warmth and hospitality (manaakitanga),” she said.

“This tournament symbolises many firsts and opportunities not only for Zambia, but Hamilton Kirikiriroa and women across the world. With over one billion viewers expected to tune in to this event, it's a fantastic opportunity to put Hamilton up in lights.”

Host city event organisers will work with FIFA around opportunities for community engagement with the Copper Queens during tournament time next year. Details on any planned community engagement opportunities will be communicated with the public in due course.

Hamilton Kirikiriroa will also host the inaugural Play-off Tournament. Taking place from 17 – 23 February 2023 at Waikato Stadium this tournament will see 10 teams from across the world compete for the final three qualifying spots in the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023™. The Football Ferns will play three friendlies around the Play-Off Tournament – the first against Portugal, before two fixtures against guest team, Argentina.

FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023™ matches to be held in Hamilton Kirikiriroa will be as follows:

  • Zambia vs Japan (Saturday 22 July 2023)

  • Switzerland vs Norway (Tuesday 25 July 2023)

  • Qualifier vs Vietnam (Thursday 27 July 2023)

  • Costa Rica vs Zambia (Monday 31 July 2023)

  • Argentina vs Sweden (Wednesday 2 August 2023)

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